What I Did This Summer: Part I

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There was a long period over the summer where I didn’t write a blog entry, and it all stems from what I spoke about in my June entry: my 9-month report! What happened was that I worked fairly heavily on it during June to get it completed for the end of the month. During this time my supervisor, Hugh, was off sick for a while, though from my perspective this let me knuckle down and really get some writing done.

When Hugh returned, we had a meeting to judge my progress and discuss what needed to be done next, and lots of interesting things came out of this meeting. Firstly, I had a fair bit more to do before handing it in. Secondly, Hugh would be at two conferences, with some holiday in between, during July. Thirdly, I mentioned that the deadline for submissions to the DIGITEL 2008 conference was coming up at the end of the month. And finally, it turned out that we were both going to the Glastonbury festival the week after the meeting.

Ok, that seems a bit of an unrelated mess of facts, so I will try to weave together what the outcomes of the meeting were. To start with, it was clear that I would not finish the 9 month report and get feedback from Hugh before he went away for July. Therefore the hand in and viva for this was postponed until early August. To make best use of the week Hugh was here, we decided to write a poster paper for the DIGITEL conference, discussing the scope of adaptive digital games. Lastly, we decided to meet up for a few pints of cider while at Glastonbury!

Writing the poster paper was extremely fun. Let me explain what I mean by ‘poster paper’, in case you’re a little confused. I wrote a 3-page paper to present my research so far and convince the conference organisers that they should let me present an academic poster at the conference. The other typical options are to write a full or short paper, which would then be presented orally to the attendees of the conference, or proposal for a workshop or a panel session. At this stage in my research, a poster is definitely most appropriate, as I do not have much in the way of experimental results to present. I will instead be presenting my work so far and what I plan to do.

Because of the impending deadline, and the fact that Hugh and I were both going to be at Glastonbury, I had about a week to write the paper, get some feedback from Hugh, revise it and submit it. Somehow I managed it. I guess 3 pages is not a great deal to write, but structuring my ideas and condensing them into that space was a bit of a challenge. Hugh was pretty happy with what I had written, so it was time to submit.

However, the paper had to be submitted in a MS Word document, based on a particular template. I had written the paper in my fellow PhD student’s web-based collaborative authoring system CAWS, using the IEEE template to check what it looked like. However, despite DIGITEL being promoted as IEEE, the submission format was different.

I learned my first lesson of submitting papers: don’t make assumptions about the submission format!!

This resulted in some of my references spilling over onto the next page, resulting in a 3.5 page paper 🙁 Luckily, with a little restructuring and removal of a few superfluous words here and there, I managed to get it within the page limit, moments before hitting the long road to Pilton! More about that, and the following few months next time…

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